One of my favorite writers, the extraordinary David Foster Wallace, is dead after ending his own life. He was 46.
My first exposure to his work was his beautiful mathematics book Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity. He brought his extraordinary skill as a narrative fiction writer to the story of the development of the mathematical concept of infinity, and doing so in a way that does not fall victim to the excessive simplification that plagues so much of science writing. It’s equally engaging for the mathematically naive and the mathematically sophisticated, with one or two minor technical quibbles.
Of course that wasn’t his best known work, with his fiction taking center stage for most of his fans. But as an undergraduate, Everything and More opened the door to infinity to me, and I’ll always be thankful for the view.
His loss is a sad reminder that of the unnecessary tragedy and loss of suicide. I sincerely ask that any reader who ever might feel that life is not worth living to seek help and encouragement. Life is not always happy, but it’s worth pressing on through the hard times into the better times. Never give up.
Rest in peace.